Winter 2019 - 2020 Vision: Focus on Social Justice

From the Editor

westview fall 2019 1Download PDFIn this issue we focus on social justice through the eyes of community members and organizations that are advocating for causes that are important to them.

Social justice has become a politically charged phrase and is somewhat hard to define, but in this context, it refers to the notion that all people deserve equal access to rights, wealth, opportunities and privileges in a society.

We agree with the definition espoused by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, which “recognizes the inherent dignity of all people and values every life equally. It calls for both personal reflection and social change to ensure that each of us has the right and the opportunity to thrive in our communities, regardless of our identities.”

There are many ways that individuals can work towards achieving social justice. Some focus on protecting voting rights and increasing participation in our democracy. Others focus on environmental issues, or immigration reform. Others, still, focus their efforts on gun violence in schools, child abuse prevention or health issues in the LGBTQ community.

2020 is a big year, politically and civically. We will have a presidential election at a time when we are very politically divided as a country. Like the League of Women Voters say, “Our vote is our voice” – no matter what our political affiliation. Our democracy can only truly function when “we the people” participate.

This year we will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted all women in the U.S. the right to vote. 2020 also marks the 150th anniversary of Utah being the first place where women voted in the modern nation.

It is sad to me that something that was fought so hard for is now taken for granted; in the last general election only 33.85 percent of registered voters in Salt Lake County voted. Voter turnout was even lower in west Salt Lake City precincts. These elections could have had very different outcomes if everyone had shown up to the polls. 

Another significant thing about 2020 is that the U.S. Census will be conducted. Every 10 years, every person living in the United States is counted to determine our country’s population.

According to Marti Woolford with the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office, getting an accurate or complete census count is very important. Census data will determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as how to distribute more than $675 billion in federal funds to local communities.

The census information will also help determine where to build homes and parks, establish new routes for public transit, build roads, prepare for emergencies, and assist businesses in determining where to locate and what types of products and services to provide.

Communities that don’t get fully counted in 2020 will miss out on funding for the next ten years.

We all lose out when we do not participate civically.

Come help us decide what is newsworthy, and support local journalism!  







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